DAR Hip Hop: 10 Of The Greatest Double Albums In Hip Hop

(Compiled By @TrueGodImmortal, @CherchezLaPorsh, @IUseCondoms, and @JADBeats)

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal 
-The art of hip hop album making is one that remains intricate. To put together an album that the world loves and enjoys is not an easy feat for any MC. Imagine having to make a double album that people enjoy. Hearing your voice, cadence, lyricism, and more for two discs is usually a tough task if not executed correctly, but some have pulled it off... for the most part. Now, there are very few double album classics in hip hop, but there are some really dope double albums in general within the genre. Today, we wanted to take a look at the 10 greatest double albums in hip hop history. Missing from this list would be the double albums that fell short like Kurupt's Kuruption! album, the Cypress Hill double album, Lil Flip and his random attempt at a double album in 2004, the Nelly double album (split into two releases) with Sweat/Suit (what an album title during the velour era), the Master P cluttered album MP The Last Don, and surprisingly, the Nate Dogg album G Funk Classics Vol. 1 and 2 (which walks the line between hip hop and soul G-Funk), but they are still noteworthy. Some of the top double albums that just missed the list is Vince Staples and his slept on gem "Summertime 06", the first official double album from DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince, 8Ball and his Lost album, and one of my personal favorites, Blu's Good To Be Home. Based on criteria (and none of the panel besides myself picking them), they just fell short. This list is 10 of the greatest double albums in hip hop, based on criteria and the choices picked by our panel. Let's get into it.

*2Pac- All Eyez On Me 
(Chosen By @CherchezLaPorsh, @TrueGodImmortal, @IUseCondoms & @JADBeats)

-Often used as the standard by which most double albums are judged, Pac set the world on fire with this double album that many crown as the first official double album in hip hop. Regardless, this album is full of classic tracks, amazing hits, and the aggression that made Pac a true legend in hip hop. From the Nate Dogg assisted anthem "Skandalouz" to the all time classic "Ambitionz Az A Ridah", the first disc is one of my favorites from Pac ever. The 2nd disc is a bit cluttered and has some fillers, but songs like "Holla At Me", "Can't C Me", and "Picture Me Rollin" all help to round out a rather solid album from Pac and his highest selling project ever. Of course this was going to make the list.

CherchezLaPorsh- It’s only right to put the first actual original material double album in the history of hip hop as my choice for best double album ever because “All Eyez On Me” was exactly that. Personally, I don’t think “All Eyez On Me” is a classic album, but it does have some incredible stand out tracks that are timeless classics. His poetic devices and ease of delivery is always noteworthy and although Pac isn’t the greatest storyteller, the tracklist flows as a story (albeit loosely) This is the album that gave us “California Love”, “I Ain’t Mad At Cha” and “Only God Can Judge Me” so while Pac was making feel good bangers, he was also thought provoking, vulnerable and raw. For an album that was made as a bail-bargaining tool and was recorded from beginning to end in just a couple of months, Tupac delivered an exceptional piece of work that will forever be part of hip hop history. Pac’s hunger, drive and discipline is what stands out most with this album and will always be on top lists.

*UGK- Underground Kingz 
(Editor's Choice)

-Surprisingly, no one picked this one but me and I have to put this one on here. I'm honestly shocked because this is one of the best UGK albums ever. Pimp and Bun returned after some years away due to Pimp's incarceration, but it looked as if they never once missed a step. The production here was smooth, the lyricism was classic UGK, and Pimp C stole the show every chance he got. Songs such as "The Game Belongs To Me", the Outkast assisted classic (and best song on the album IMO) "Int'l Players Anthem", the anthem "Quit Hatin The South", and many more help round out this album. I'm partial to disc 1 over disc 2, but both discs bring great music, that official UGK sound and then some.

*The Notorious B.I.G- Life After Death 
(Chosen By @TrueGodImmortal, @CherchezLaPorsh, @JADBeats & @IUseCondoms)

-Another album that is seen as the standard of double albums in hip hop, Life After Death is considered by many a classic and probably the best of them all. It's mostly a classic, with lyrics that set Biggie apart from the rest of his competition and showcases Big in the most comfortable position we had seen him in thus far: the throne. Feeling like the King of Rap and King of New York, Big weaves through both discs effortlessly, as he snaps on tracks like "Kick In The Door", "Niggas Bleed", "Last Day", and allows guests to shine as well like Too Short, Mase, The Lox, and one of my favorite tracks "I Love The Dough", where he and Jay-Z go back and forth with some of the freshest lyricism I've ever heard. Life After Death is the final true testament to Big and his career, and there's no way you talk double albums in hip hop without mentioning it.

CherchezLaPorsh- I can’t talk rap or rap albums without mentioning BIG in some way, so of course “Life After Death” ranks on my list. This is the album that eerily came out just days after his unexpected death and while we were still mourning the loss of a hip hop legend, we were given an album with some of the greatest tracks hip hop would ever know. It’s no secret that BIG excelled at delivery and his flow was and is still unmatched, so every track is great just on that. Again, this is one album that gets the some negative reviews because of fillers (they are plentiful), but they get hidden amidst gem-like tracks such as “Kick In The Door”, “Sky’s The Limit”, “Ten Crack Commandments” and “What’s Beef”. We can't forget the classic bangers like “Mo Money Mo Problems”, “Hypnotize” and “Going Back To Cali". This album has something for everyone, every mood, and every (well most) occasion. BIG proved with his debut that he was one of the greatest and this album solidified it.

*Nas- Street's Disciple 
(Chosen By @CherchezLaPorsh, @TrueGodImmortal, & @JADBeats)

-Simply put, this album was ahead of its time. Nas went very personal on the God's Son album, and he continued it even more with this double album that feels like a very solid story. Lyrically, Nas is at his best, and he shines on tracks on both discs, but disc 1 is slightly better than 2. The filler of the album is mostly on disc 2, and though many Nas fans didn't like this album, I think it's more so that they weren't ready for the growth in him as an artist and man versus the music not actually being good. You won't find "Ether", "You Owe Me", "The Message", or any of that here, but what you will find is the jazzy and amazing "War", the booming "You Know My Style", the hardcore "Thief's Theme", the superb "Reason", and the single "Just A Moment". Nas was getting older, more mature, and on the verge of getting married, so he would utilize the live production of Salaam Remi, soulful elements, jazz, a bit of funk, and features from Busta Rhymes, Maxwell, and more to push this album to be a very solid release. If you've made an opinion off this album based on internet chatter and talk, you might want to revisit it: there's a lot of great music here and while it might have been a classic if cut down to one disc (and if Nas would have kept some of the songs he took off), it's still one of the better double albums. Period.

CherchezLaPorsh- I don’t hear much about this album in hip hop conversations, but “Street’s Disciple” is another incredible double album that is essentially a continuation of God’s Son. Nas has always been one of the best storytellers and track after track displays exactly that. The production is simple, but in the most Nas-esque way, it leaves the floor open for the rapper to deliver nothing but wordplay and exceptional lyricism. Nothing Nas does is random and that holds true of “Street’s Disciple” also. There is a little bit of everything from his heritage (Bridging The Gap), past (Remember The Times), present (Getting Married), future (Live Now) and influencers (U.B.R).  His lyrics have depth, his samples are heavy and while this isn’t a perfect album, it’s close IMO. For any Nas fan, this album should be enjoyable all the way through.

*The Diplomats- Diplomatic Immunity
(Chosen By @TrueGodImmortal @IUseCondoms & @JADBeats)

-One of the more important double albums in hip hop history, this is one of my personal favorites and it's not even close. The Dips were riding a wave of popularity and they were very precise when releasing this project. Cam was a star now, Juelz was right there, and Jim was inching closer to gaining some attention, mostly for his wild antics and hilarious adlibs. This album was essentially the culmination of their ascension and the peak of their musical journey, as the double disc project features some of the most glorious sampled production and some of the most iconic songs in the history of the Diplomats and Dipset era. Who could forget "Who I Am", where Juelz shined brightly, or the instant classic Dipset track "I Really Mean It", or the iconic "I'm Ready", where they flowed so effortlessly over the beat. Other classic tracks include the hit single "Dipset Anthem" and "Real Niggas" as well. Overall, this album was honestly one of the best albums to come from the Roc-A-Fella label, and honestly the best album to come out of the Dipset movement.

*True God- Soul Revival 3
(Chosen By @CherchezLaPorsh and @TrueGodImmortal)

-Now I know what you're thinking: does True really need his own album on this list? Well, one I wasn't going to pick my own album for the list and expected that no one else would so it didn't matter if I did (I was wrong), and two, if we're being honest, it really does deserve to be here. A 23 track opus based around life, the pursuit of happiness, and a growing battle depression, this album is full of hard work, dedication, loss, life, loyalty, love, amidst searching for answers and purpose. I could rant and rave about my own work, but truth be told, the inclusion of SR3 on the list has more to do with it being chosen by another member of the panel instead of me. Still, there's good music here from the smooth yet profound "Time Goes By" to the Shokus Apollo assisted jazzy number "Enter The Realm", the dedication to Michael Jackson, Prince and Marvin Gaye on "Searching For Inspiration", the three part song about based around the movie Boomerang (and how it could have related to my life at one point) on "The Plight of Marcus Graham", the Woody Rock (formerly of Dru Hill) assisted "Maybe I'm A Dreamer", the venting track "Sanctuary", the big DAR posse track "The New Wu-Tang", the brutally honest "Debts of Karma", and the heartbreaking dedication to my daughter on "Zuri's Smile", this album has many layers, much depth, and very little filler, if any. It's not easy to make a double album that's very smooth to listen to, along with a concept behind it to finish a trilogy (SR1 and SR2 are great albums). Though I initially didn't want this album on the list to avoid being called biased, the reality is, this album belongs on here. If you haven't heard it, you should probably do so now.

CherchezLaPorsh- DAR’s very own True God and his 9th release “Soul Revival 3” makes my personal top 5 double albums list. Not only is this album his first double album, but it closes out the Soul Revival theme he debuted with AND brings the life experiences and stories to a close. True’s consistent well thought out lyrics and beat choice is on point and track after track is filled with gems. The fillers are at a minimum and the features are just that, complimentary but never overshadowing. While I like the majority of the tracklist, my favorites are “Debts of Karma”, “Live From The Mecca” featuring Black Ax, and of course “Zuri’s Smile”. Overall this has a ton of replay value and is a very enjoyable album.

*Jay-Z- The Blueprint 2: The Gift And The Curse 
(Chosen By @CherchezLaPorsh, @JADBeats, & @TrueGodImmortal)

-Many people said that this album would be better served as a single album, and they're correct. However, when looking at double albums in hip hop, this is actually underrated in a way. The first disc flows smoothly and the beginning of the second disc is very solid, it's just the end of the second disc that tends to lose you as a listener. Minus about 6 or 7 fillers, Blueprint 2 is actually a really really good Jay-Z album, and though it's not one of his best, when compared to many double albums, it definitely deserves a much higher ranking than below the top 10, that's why it is here (also because 3 people on the panel voted for it). My favorite tracks include the superb "Hovi Baby", the hit single "Excuse Me Miss", the poignant and underrated "Guns And Roses", another underrated gem in "Some People Hate", and the classic "Meet The Parents" track that shows Jay has an immense knack for storytelling. Overall, this should have been shortened, but as a double album, it is still pretty solid minus the filler.

CherchezLaPorsh- The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse. I love everything about this album even the fillers. Jay starts the album off with “A Dream” about BIG, which is always a great way to start and gets more cinematic as it progresses and even though there isn’t a clear storyline that he’s following, the tracks are enjoyable. The lyrics are always great and this album has one of the best crossover tracks in the entirety of hip hop IMO (Guns & Roses). Are there fillers? Of course, but Jay’s energy is maintained and the album remains a solid one with a ton of bangers, incredible production, and great range. Jay is one of the greatest rappers and if anyone could pull off putting a “random” collection of tracks together and calling it The Gift & The Curse, it’s him. This is a dope addition to his catalog and really “a gift” to fans.

*Wu-Tang Clan- Wu-Tang Forever 
(Chosen By @TrueGodImmortal, @IUseCondoms & @JADBeats)

-This is the best double album ever IMO and I honestly don't understand how you could argue against it. It's the best of the Wu essentially put into a full fledged double album that has minimal filler. Released 4 years after the initial debut of the group, this album showcases the greatness that the Wu brought to the table, as they would excel lyrically and RZA truly held down the production end with some of his greatest beats on this album. The best part of this album was that none of the MCs felt outshined on the tracks, minus one or two songs, and the most infamous verse on this album didn't come from ODB, Method Man, Raekwon or Ghostface, it came from Inspectah Deck on the classic track "Triumph". This album shows just how great the Wu was overall and tracks like "Reunited", "It's Yourz", "Older Godz", and my personal favorite "Heaterz" help to drive home my point that this is the greatest double album ever. Period.

*Bone Thugs-N-Harmony- The Art of War 
(Chosen By @JADBeats & @TrueGodImmortal)

-The truth of the matter is that Bone Thugs is forever slept on, and quite frankly one of the greatest groups in hip hop history. Though this isn't their best album, it is a very solid addition to their catalog, and showcases some more versatility from the Ohio based group. Tracks like the hit single "Look Into My Eyes", "Family Tree", and more helped to round out this long album and though it could have trimmed about 20-25 minutes of music off, it is still a very enjoyable listen all the way through (though it's virtually impossible to listen all the way through the first time unless you have a lot of time, so split it up by disc), and spawned my all time favorite Bone Thugs song "Thug Luv" with one of my all time favorite Tupac verses. This album was a really solid effort and showcased that Bone Thugs could hold it down for a double album.

*Outkast- Speakerboxxx/The Love Below 
(Chosen By @JADBeats and @TrueGodImmortal)

-It's tough placing this album here for numerous reasons. It's not an official Outkast album because the two artists rarely work together here and it's essentially two albums rolled into one. Big Boi keeps it 100% hip hop with the amazing Speakerboxxx album, with appearances from Killer Mike, Big Gipp, Cee-Lo, Ludacris, and Jay-Z, plus many more. The album showcases the skill and ability of Big Boi and helped him to step out of the box a bit and show that he's a viable solo artist as well. The best song on this album to me is the poignant "Reset", as I feel it features the most profound verses, but that doesn't take away from the superb tracks like "The Way You Move", "Church", "Ghetto Musick", and "Knowing" that help to round out his album. The Love Below is Andre 3000's best attempt at creating a blend of sounds into an album, and it works. It doesn't work on every track, but it works on songs like "Prototype", "Happy Valentine's Day", "She Lives In My Lap", "Spread", the Big Boi featured "Roses", the underrated "Vibrate", as well as "Take Off Your Cool" and my personal favorite "A Day In The Life of Benjamin Andre", which shows a profound 3000 rapping about his journey to the music world and beyond. Overall, I think Speakerboxxx and the Love Below both possess great music and I truly enjoyed this double album for what it was: two solo albums from two genius artists.

These 10 choices are the double albums that had an impact on music, or were too good to be denied. Make no mistake, it's tough to make a classic double album, but making a very solid double album is an amazing feat and these are the 10 that fit that description.



Popular Posts